What’s Your Favorite NHL Franchise Worth?

It is that time of year again. The Holidays are here and so are Forbes annual rankings for the NHL’s most valuable teams. Following the COVID-shortened season that saw a 2.0% dip in overall team value, arenas are full once again and hockey has heated up quickly. Even though the pandemic is still hanging around, team values increased by 32% from last season, marking the largest increase in eight years. A huge factor in this increase is the recent seven-year television rights agreement with ESPN and Turner, who will pay the NHL an average of $625 million per year compared to the $300 million they were receiving from NBC in the years prior. The top spot this year goes to the New York Rangers, who become the first NHL team ever to be worth more than two billion dollars. Here is a look at the full list from top to bottom. 

Top 10 

Alexis Lafreniere New York Rangers-What's Your Favorite NHL Franchise Worth?
Alexis Lafreniere, New York Rangers (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

1. New York Rangers

  • Value: $2 billion
  • 2020 Ranking: 1st 
  • Owner: Madison Square Garden Sports

2. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Value: $1.8 billion 
  • 2020 Ranking: 2nd
  • Owner: Bell Canada, Rogers Communications, Larry Tanenbaum

3. Montreal Canadiens

  • Value: $1.6 billion 
  • 2020 Ranking: 3rd
  • Owner: Molson family

4. Chicago Blackhawks

  • Value: $1.4 billion 
  • 2020 Ranking: 4th
  • Owner: Rocky Wirtz

5. Boston Bruins

  • Value $1.3 billion 
  • 2020 Ranking: 5th
  • Owner: Jeremy Jacobs

6. Philadelphia Flyers

  • Value: $1.2 billion 
  • 2020 Ranking: 7th
  • Owner: Comcast

7. Edmonton Oilers

  • Value: $1.1 billion 
  • 2020 Ranking: 14th
  • Owner: Daryl Katz

8. Los Angeles Kings 

  • Value: $1.025 billion 
  • 2020 Ranking: 6th
  • Owner: Philip Anschutz

9. Detroit Red Wings

  • Value: $990 million 
  • 2020 Ranking: 8th
  • Owner: Marian Ilitch

10. New York Islanders 

  • Value: $950 million 
  • 2020 Ranking: 16th
  • Owner: Scott Malkin, Jon Ledecky

The club from the big apple becomes the first team worth $2 billion in NHL history. This marks the eighth straight year that the Rangers top the list, largely due to their ‘original six’ market, and $1 billion restoration of Madison Square Garden. The Philadephia Flyers and New York Islanders are two other teams benefitting from recent arena transformations. The two largest increases in the top ten came from the Islanders, who jumped from 16th to 10th with an increase of 83%, and the Edmonton Oilers, who jumped from 14th to 7th with an increase of 100%. 

Middle of the Pack 

Alex Ovechkin scoring his 700th goal-What's Your Favorite NHL Franchise Worth?
Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin scoring his 700th goal, Feb. 22, 2020 (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

11. Washington Capitals

  • Value: $930 million
  • 2020 Ranking: 9th
  • Owner: Ted Leonsis

12. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Value: $900 million
  • 2020 Ranking: 11th
  • Owner: Mario Lemieux, Ron Burkle

13. Seattle Kraken

  • Value: $875 million
  • 2020 Ranking: none
  • Owner: David Bonderman

14. Vancouver Canucks 

  • Value: $825 million
  • 2020 Ranking: 10th
  • Owner: Aquilini Investment Group

15. New Jersey Devils 

  • Value: $775 million
  • 2020 Ranking: 15th
  • Owner: Josh Harris, David Blitzer

16. Dallas Stars 

  • Value: $720 million
  • 2020 Ranking: 12th
  • Owner: Tom Gagliardi 

17. Vegas Golden Knights 

  • Value: $710 million
  • 2020 Rank: 13th
  • Owner:Bill Foley, Maloof family

18. Calgary Flames

  • Value: $680 million
  • 2020 Rank: 20th
  • Owner: N. Murray Edwards

19. Minnesota Wild 

  • Value: $675 million
  • 2020 Rank: 19th
  • Owner: Craig Leipold

20. Tampa Bay Lightning 

  • Value: $650 million
  • 2020 Rank: 21st
  • Owner: Jeffrey Vinik

21. St. Louis Blues

  • Value: $640 million
  • 2020 Rank: 18th
  • Owner: Tom Stillman

Among the middle of the pack are many teams that fell in this years’ rankings. The biggest decrease came from the Vancouver Canucks, Dallas Stars, and Vegas Golden Knights, who all dropped four spots.

The newcomer Seattle Kraken grabbed the 13th spot on the list right off the bat with their impressive ‘Climate Pledge Arena’ and high number of initial ticket sales. The only clubs that saw an increase in this group were the Calgary Flames and two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion, Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Bottom 10

Colorado Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon-What's Your Favorite NHL Franchise Worth?
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

22. Colorado Avalanche 

  • Value: $630 million
  • 2020 Rank: 22nd
  • Owner: Stanley Kroenke

23. San Jose Sharks

  • Value: $625 million
  • 2020 Rank: 17th
  • Owner: Hasso Plattner

24. Anaheim Ducks

  • Value: $620 million
  • 2020 Rank: 23rd
  • Owner: Henry and Susan Samueli

25. Nashville Predators

  • Value: $600 million
  • 2020 Rank: 25th
  • Owner: Herbert Fritch

26. Winnipeg Jets 

  • Value: $575 million
  • 2020 Rank: 27th
  • Owner: True North Sports + Entertainment

27. Carolina Hurricanes

  • Value: $550 million
  • 2020 Rank: 24th
  • Owner: Tom Dundon

28. Ottawa Senators

  • Value: $525 million
  • 2020 Rank: 26th
  • Owner: Eugene Melnyk

29. Buffalo Sabres

  • Value: $500 million
  • 2020 Rank: 28th
  • Owner: Terrence and Kim Pegula

30. Columbus Blue Jackets

  • Value: $475 million
  • 2020 Rank: 29th
  • Owner: John P. McConnell, Nationwide

31. Florida Panthers

  • Value: $450 million
  • 2020 Rank: 30th
  • Owner: Vincent Viola

32. Arizona Coyotes

  • Value: $400 million
  • 2020 Rank: 31st
  • Owner: Alex Meruel
Phil Kessel Arizona Coyotes-What's Your Favorite NHL Franchise Worth?
Phil Kessel, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Once again, it is the Arizona Coyotes rounding out the teams at the bottom of the list. Currently without an arena for the 2022-23 season and being threatened a lockout from their current arena this season, the messy Coyotes have traded hands twice over the past seven years. They were sold for $305 million in 2014 and again for $300 million in 2019 and have been the lowest valued team for a large part of a decade. This bottom group represents the least change as only the Ottawa Senators, Carolina Hurricanes, and San Jose Sharks moved more than one spot in either direction. 

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The NHL is seeing a reboot after a large decrease in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemics’ worst times. After reaching a low of $2.9 billion in total revenue last season, the league is projected to see a steady increase in the coming years, eventually reaching $6 billion in 2025-26.

Now that you have read the full list, who are your biggest surprises?

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